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are dull of hearing, and their eyes hate SERM. they closed; lest at any time 'they should II. see with their eyes and hear with their m ears and understand with their hearts, and should be converted, and I should heal them°.But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, that many Prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them, and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

This part of our Lord's discourse may suggest a wider range of observation. It is worthy of remark that his design, in speaking to the Jews in parable, corresponds with that of God . himself, in speaking to their fathers under the types and shadows of the Mosaic law. After being long immersed in the gloom of Egyptian bondage, the children of Israel were not able to endure the full light of heavenly truth; and therefore he revealed himself to them only partially and through a cloud. They were not competent to receive a pure and spiritual law sup- . ported by the promise of better things Is. vi. 9, 10.

- to

SERM. to come: and therefore he typified the

II. principles of moral duty under a numW ber of rites and ceremonies which had

no intrinsic moral worth, and he shadowed forth the promise of a future life under the prospect of a temporal inheritance. In no deeper light did these communications appear to the carnal apprehensions of the common people: amused with the form of godliness they had no disposition to inquire into the power thereof; and fed to the full with the good things of the land of Canaan, they did not set their hearts on a better and more enduring substance : hence they were not prepared for the acceptance of a new covenant, which would establish a correcter rule of duty and cominunicate a fuller prospect of reward.

Yet while the common people in their attention to the letter, overlooked tlie spirit of these institutions, there were many prophets and righteous men, who desired to see and to lear the secret things of God. And because they were solicitous to receive the truth, and shewed a disposition to improve it, a greater measure of light was imparted to them from the source of light; in

con

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consequence of which they regarded SERM.
these ceremonial institutions as emblems II.
of moral duty, and their temporal in- www
heritance on earth as a pledge and as-
surance of an eternal inheritance in
heaven. But though they lived under
ą sense of this valuable truth, they
were far from partaking in the fulness
of that, light which was afterwards to
dawn upon the world. Yet from a
series of prophetic intimations they were
taught to understand, that a Prophet
greater than any of themselves was to
appear at an appointed time, who
should open heaven to the view of earth,
and manifest the Father unto the world
in his fairest and brightest attributes of
grace and truth. To this divine Per-
sonage, emphatically called the light
and the life of men P, they solicitously
turned their eyes; but though they de-
sired to see, they were not admitted to
see. Suchfulness of communication
was reserved for the Disciples: it was
their superior privilege to see with their
eyes and to hear with their ears the
Jřord of life. While the Prophets only
saw him through the veil of distant

John i. 4.
E 2

time,

SERM. time, the Disciples saw him face 'to II. face: while the Prophets only saw him

in the doubtful twilight of the Mosaic dispensation, the Disciples saw him risen on the world, the Sun of righteousness with healing in his wings'.

The whole economy of revelation, . from the first of the Patriarchs to the last of the Prophets, seems in union to have: pointed to some extraordinary Personage, to rise in later times for the consolation of his people, who should hear the united characters of a Prophet, a Priest, and a King. As a Prophet, he was to preach good tidings to the meek, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. As a Priest, he was to yield his soul an offering for sin, to bear the sin of many, and to make intercession for the transgressors. As a King, he was to have the government "upon his shoulders, to be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace: of the increase of his govern-ment and peace there should be no si John i. 1. Isa. Ixi. d. Ifa. lii. 10, 12.,

end;

- Mal. iv. 2.

end; upon the throne of David and sERM. upon his kingdom, to order it and to II. establish it with judgment and with justice henceforth even for ever" .

Of this great Minister of Heaven the Jews had long entertained a hope. But though they were nearly accurate as to the time of his coming, yet they had very erroneous conceptions both of his mission and character. In compliance with the customary language and opinions of the Jews the Prophets had frequently described him under all such images, as belong to worldly dignities and opulence. But the passions of the people led them to accept in a literal sense, what unbiassed reason might have taught them to understand in a figurative. Their avarice was engaged by the description of that plenty, which would accompany his steps; their ambition was inflamed with a picture of those honours, which would attend' his dominion. Hence when our Saviour came in the garb of poverty and humility, his appearance was totally at variance with their carnal and worldly prejudice.

4 Ifa. ix. 6, 7.

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